Nestled in the bucolic Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, Lenox is a quintessentially New England town that both preserves its rich historic heritage and embraces new cultural influences.
The town came to be in the mid-1700s, when Jonathan and Sarah Hinsdale moved from Hartford, Connecticut and settled here and opened a general store and inn. Farms, lumber and textile mills, and iron mining were some of the early industries to thrive. Lenox was incorporated in 1767, and it served as the Berkshire County seat until that designation was transferred to neighboring Pittsfield in 1868. Washington, Lee, Stockbridge, and Richmond are also bordering towns.
Much of the historic architecture from America’s Colonial period remains today, including the town’s 1806-era Meeting House. Today, known as the Church on the Hill, the building is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Lenox has a close-knit population of an estimated 5,000. For centuries, the community has also been home to families who vacation and enjoy second homes here. During the Gilded Age, wealthy families from Boston and New York City enlisted renowned architects like Richard Upjohn, Stanford White, and Charles F. McKim to build grand estates to be used as summer homes. Many of those “Berkshire Cottages” still stand regally and remain privately owned.
Lenox has also been the chosen home for influential residents, including authors Catharine Sedgwick, Nathanial Hawthorne, and Edith Wharton, who penned two of her famous works here – Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth. The idyllic location also provided the settings for 1990s films Before and After and The Cider House Rules.
Though decidedly rural and quaint, Lenox is conveniently located just 2.5 hours from Boston and New York City, and a mere hour from airports in Albany, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut.
For families with children, Berkshire County affords public, private, and special educational schools. There are a number of higher-education institutions, as well, including the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Westfield State University, Berkshire Community College and the Bard College at Simon’s Rock.
Lenox residents enjoy an abundance of local organic farms, orchards, markets, and culinary destinations. , , , , , and are among the town’s popular dining experiences.
The vibrant visual and performing arts scene is renowned worldwide, thanks to the region’s concentration of galleries and live-event venues. The and in nearby Pittsfield showcase musicals, dramatic plays, and original productions. The produces new works by local talent. Lenox is also the home to , one of the largest Bard-focused year-round festivals in the nation; annually, it attracts more than 60,000 patrons to the region.
Known as a “mecca of dance,” is a 220-acre National Historic Landmark with several stages for dance productions across genres. , the Boston Symphony’s “summer home,” packs its seasonal calendar with music and other visual-arts performances.
Within the town of Lenox, there are a host of galleries to showcase works from international and local artists and crafts artisans. The WordxWord Festival, Williamstown Film and Williamstown Theater festivals, Aston Magna Music Festival, and the Berkshire International Film Festival are among the area’s many seasonal arts and music events.
Lenox residents and visitors may also take advantage of the natural landscape, with access to the Appalachian Trail, pristine conservation land, wildlife sanctuaries, mountain lakes, and numerous parks to explore. A year-round calendar of recreational activities – swimming, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, boating, downhill and cross-country skiing, and more – enable an active lifestyle.
Golf enthusiasts will relish the challenge of local courses, including the Stockbridge Golf Club, Greenock Country Club, Bas Ridge Country Club, Country Club of Pittsfield, Donnybrook Country Club, and Egremont Country Club. Centers for yoga, wellness, and spa services are also within convenient reach.